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2017: The Summer of the Men’s BBQ Shirt

Posted on July 20 2017

2017: The Summer of the Men’s BBQ Shirt

Stop the presses and hold the phones. It turns out that the summer of 2017 will be known for more than being one of the wettest on record. There’s an emerging men’s fashion trend coming out of this summer – even though it doesn’t seem to have actually arrived.

And the really good news is that you might have a shirt in the back of the closet that’ll put you at the forefront of the trend.

‘Hawaiian’ or ‘Aloha’ shirts trace their modern beginnings back to the 1930s Hawaii. But it wasn’t until World War II soldiers and sailors returned home from the Pacific that they made their first real invasion into North America.

Over the years, as Aloha shirt patterns and designs evolved from the ‘palm tree and pineapple’ motifs of the originals, other names for the different versions emerged, including Camp shirts (a reference to the style of collar versus anything ‘campy’) and Bowling shirts.

In the summer of 1955, Gentry magazine, an Esquire-like publication aimed at ‘thinking men’, hailed an Aloha shirt design, featuring abstract barbecue utensils and, according to ‘a soft-Surrealist trout’, as a ‘barbecue shirt’ designed as a ‘conversation piece … especially for the outdoor chef’.

With an uptick last summer in the numbers of men sporting ‘macho’ florals and bold, festive patterns, the barbecue shirt has re-emerged in full force at grilling get-togethers this summer and may be set for a full-on revival over the next couple of years.

And if you do have an old one tucked away in your closet from the last time Aloha shirts crested, your pocket book will thank you. Leading fashion houses have not let the trend go unnoticed, with styles appearing from Alexander McQueen (US$340), Valentino (US$695), Polo Ralph Lauren (US$98.50) and Stella McCartney (US$330), among others.

But, you could be in for a little more luck. With fashion retailers always eager to bring out their fall styles at the earliest possible moment, many summer fashions are on sale right now.